• Karen M. Peeler

Microscopic "should haves"!

Unreal Expectations

What are unreal expectations? The tiny tyrants appear as phrases running through your mind and transforming the filter by which you view your spouse and family.

Do you use phrases such as "why doesn't he understand", or "he should know better" or "if they would just do it my way?

These microscopic "should haves" are on a mission to deteriorate the foundation of marriage and family.

The thoughts and assumptions never communicated openly but held onto as law when applied to relationships are common and dangerous. Over time roots develop, choking out the truth and growing into beliefs that our "better half" should know without being told, and understand without being taught.

As a newlywed, I was on the pathway of destruction because of an "unreal expectation filter." I was young and free, habitually living life and inadvertently allowing harmful thought patterns to cloud my view. Walking daily in confusion, I filtered my husband through selfishness and unreal expectations.

"I was young and free, habitually living life and inadvertently allowing harmful thought patterns to cloud my view."

I created a thought cloak; I would throw onto my husband which gave him the "responsibility of continuously filling my endless well of need." Congratulations my love, I have clothed you the keeper of "the ability to supply my unspoken, unreal expectations."

Unfortunately, I set him up for catastrophic failure. Toxic seeds of destruction I planted with words and actions grew and grew and grew. The Harvest was plentiful. Because of the stronghold of unreal expectations my marital garden produced a harvest of division, unforgiveness, impatience, and comparison.

Tired, lonely and miserable to be around, I zoned out of life. Add a cup of know it all, sassy pants and hopefully you are getting a picture of the recipe I had written down and decided to live.

Following what I defined as a very disappointing weekend, I cuddled up with my bible and began pouring my heart out to the Father. Purposed with a list of things my husband did not do, I thought he should have done; my prayer was passionate.

I won't bore you with a reenactment but suffice it to say he had not met my "expectations" once again. At this point I'm pretty sure the good Lord was sitting casually with his head resting on his hands, waiting for me to close my mouth and open my spiritual ears. Finally, I paused.

In a moment of isolation and quiet the Holy Spirit, like a whirlwind, ushered a "come to Jesus meeting" into the deep places of my heart and mind. Galatians 6:4-5 jumped out at me like a toddler playing peek-a-boo.

"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." Galatians 6:4-5

My heart began to race, and within seconds correction came like a gentle, refreshing breeze. Truth trampled and shook the foundation I built upon human reasoning. The Holy Spirit destroyed the stronghold of unreal expectations.

"Ignoring my faults and conduct I focused on what I thought my husband should be doing or not doing."

Ignoring my faults and conduct, I focused on what I thought my husband should be doing or not doing. It was less painful this way and concentrating on him took the spotlight off my sin. If I fixated on his toothpick, so to speak, I wouldn't need to address the plank in my eye and the reason I was stumbling around in confusion (Matthew 7:1-3).

God spoke. I listened.

"Humanity was not created on an assembly line."

Humanity was not mass produced on an assembly line. I am different from my husband; this is God's plan. Different is not necessarily wrong. Unique qualities are God's way of expressing his creativity within marriage. No greater expectation exists for you and me than those set forth by God's word. We do not set the pace or the bar, our heavenly Father does.

His design is perfect (Genesis 1:31).

His Grace is complete (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We can rest in this assurance (Psalm 62:5-8).

"Our uncommon qualities are God's way of expressing his creativity within marriage."

I am a broken vessel fashioned for use to bring glory to God, not a set of boxing gloves to punch my husband with unreal expectations seasoned with pride and arrogance.

My expectations for my husband are meaningless in comparison to the plan God has for his life. Placing the human filter before God's plan crowds the pathway to freedom and digs potholes instead of stepping stones for those I love the most.

"My expectations for my husband are meaningless in comparison to the plan God has for his life."

You and I, we are not created to control but surrender. God first then to our husband.

And I am confident that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

The marriage covenant was designed to mirror our covenant with God. He started the work within us, and he is more than able to finish it!

Now, take a moment and inspect your marital garden. What does your harvest represent? Is it growing day by day, a few weeds here and there, but for the most part thriving? Or are the weeds choking out the truth and strongholds stunting your spiritual growth?

Next step, uproot and replant truth.

Seeds sown in the spirit produce eternal fruit. Plant God's word, and speak life!

Seeds sown in the flesh breed destruction. Strongholds demolished! Submit to God, resist the devil and he must flee!

The Holy Spirit guides, we partner alongside God's master plan for life. Your husband is a unique creation designed by the Father. Instead of filtering through unreal expectations, grab a pen and paper and ask God what he has planned. Then partner with this in prayer, intentional actions, and most of all your words. There is a provision to meet your every need, but God won't force us to open the door.

"Your expectations for your husband are meaningless in comparison to the plan God has for his life."

Closing Prayer for Marriage & Family

Dear God you are a very present help in time of trouble. You see our frailty, but instead of turning away you create pathways of change and renewal for our mind. Thank you, God, for your faithful pursuit of your children. You created each one of us to reflect your glory. Family is precious in your sight, and I know you are for us not against us. God, I ask that you would cover each family represented by the people who read this blog with your goodness and mercy. I pray you would uproot strongholds that keep us focused on unreal expectations and instead plant deep roots of truth that produce lasting fruit for your kingdom. May each family be filled with your Spirit and determined to walk in the identity that comes from you. We are fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose knit individually and together for your purpose. In Jesus precious name. Amen!

Scripture Meditation

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:8-10

Marriage Enrichment

Pray for your spouse daily. Declare God's promises over your life.

Find a marriage mentor and meet on a regular basis. Someone who will refuse to sin-soothe but instead challenge you to walk in truth.

Purchase a devotional book and be intentional about growing together and praying together.

Live accountable to God's word, each other and your tribe.

Questions? E-mail karen@wovenone.com

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